PALM DESERT, Calif. -
Saturday marked the grand opening of the Coachella Valley Water District’s Critical Support Services building which will make sure that water needs are provided for even in the case of a major earthquake or catastrophe.
News Channel 3’s Caitlin Thropay was at the big unveiling and gives us a tour of the new building.
“Water isn’t the first thing people think about in an emergency, but it’s really important because if there were to be a catastrophic event, firefighters are going to need water, hospitals are going to need water and there's going to be a great deal of need for this resource and we want to be able to react right away," Director of Communications and Conservation for the Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD), Katie Evans told News Channel 3.
Evans led us on a tour of the new facility. “This is our emergency operation center," she said.
The building cost just shy of $14 million. Construction started in December 2018. It's designed to withstand a major earthquake. This will help the CVWD to keep helping customers if an event like that happens.
“This room has really incredible communication capabilities so that we can talk to our operators in the field, we can talk to our control center, we can Skype with the news if we need to," she said. "It really allows us the opportunity to make sure that in the event of an emergency we can stay up and our resources are all available to us," she added.
The whole building has three power generators so it’s also prepared if multiple power outages if they occur.
“This is our brand new water quality laboratory,” Evans showed us. This is where they test water quality 365 days a year.
Next stop on our tour was the control room.
“We are in the control center and this is a room where we have communications capability with a variety of our systems so this is basically where we dispatch any needs we have," she said.
The dispatchers in the room look at things like reservoir levels and what gates are open or closed in the Coachella Valley Canal System.
The public was also able to attend this open house on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon and were also able to get a tour of the new building.
Also at the event, were several booths for people to learn about the CVWD’s services.
“We’ve learned lots of great things," one attendee, Brittany Rose told us. "About excavating and the diggers to call 811," she added. "We learned a lot about the mechanical side and maintenance repair which is really fun to learn about and how the pumps work and just how the whole operation is ran," she said. "It’s really quite interesting," she added.
When asked if she learned anything through any of the booths that she feels the community needs to know she said, “I think the community doesn’t pay much attention to what they flush and to learn about the way the pumps work and how they separate. It’s really quite fascinating so it just brings awareness to know what is going down the drain and where the water comes from and how it’s cleaned," she said.
You can learn more about the Coachella Valley Water District on their website: http://www.cvwd.org/